Reggae Stays On Billboard

The Billboard Reggae Album Chart which appears weekly in Billboard Magazine, will not be discontinued. That assurance was given by Alex Vitoulis, the publication’s associate director and chart productions manager.

Responding to emailed questions about the chart’s immediate future, Vitoulis denied rumors Billboard was planning to drop it. A rumor circulated on a radio station in South Florida and New York that the publication would scrap its Reggae Album list due to farcical sales returns by leading Jamaican artists. But Vitoulis, without going into detail, said such speculation was unfounded.

The Reggae Album Chart reports on weekly sales in the United States from a combination of physical and digital sales as well as streaming. The first Reggae Album Chart appeared in Billboard on February 5, 1994. The Top 10 albums that week were:

1. Promises & Lies – UB40
2. Cool Runnings Soundtrack – Various Artists
3. Bad Boys – Inner Circle
4. 12 Inches of Snow – Snow
5. Songs of Freedom – Bob Marley
6. Voice of Jamaica – Buju Banton
7. Queen of The Pack – Patra
8. All She Wrote – Chaka Demus & Pliers
9. Pure Pleasure – Shaggy
10. Rough & Ready Vol II – Shabba Ranks

In recent years, the chart has been dominated by American reggae bands like Rebelution and SOJA, who consistently outsell their Jamaican counterparts. Top Jamaican artistes including Romain Virgo, Christopher Martin, and Konshens show modest to poor returns on Billboard.

That is a stark contrast to the 1990s when homegrown acts like Shabba Ranks, Mad Cobra, Patra, Super Cat and Dawn Penn made the magazine’s mainstream chart. In 2010, Billboard introduced the Reggae Digital Song Sales Chart which compiles top-selling digital singles. The Billboard Reggae Album Chart is updated on its website on Tuesdays. Beast From The East by American band Bumpin Uglies is the current number one album.

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